3 Common and Preventable Reasons for Attrition

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Employee attrition and retention has been growing over the years at a rather alarming rate, which is a top concern for HR professionals.

In the wake of the pandemic, a new light has been shed on employee attrition, as millions of people have voluntarily left their jobs over the last several months. Dubbed the “Great Resignation,” 4.3 million Americans voluntarily left their jobs in August 2021 alone, contributing to the highest voluntary turnover numbers that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has tracked since it started monitoring attrition numbers.

With the cost of replacing an employee ranging from “one-half to two times the employee’s annual salary,” according to Gartner, it’s no wonder that high attrition numbers are keeping people professionals up at night.

However, many reasons for attrition can be prevented. By using preventative measures, companies can learn why employees are leaving and adjust their hiring strategies. Read on to learn about three common and preventable reasons for attrition.

Reason for Attrition #1: Employees Want More Flexibility

Over the past several years, employees have demanded more workplace flexibility. In a 2019 survey, almost a third of employees “sought out a new job because their current workplace didn’t offer flexible work opportunities, such as remote work or flexible scheduling.”

And that was before the global pandemic accelerated work-from-home trends.

Today, workplace flexibility has become commonplace, with millions of employees working from remote locations because of COVID-19’s safety requirements. To retain workers, flexible schedules and locations are a must.

The Solution

Implementing flexible work options, such as a hybrid environment, requires a top-down approach, with management leading the way through example and communication.

Here are some other best practices when implementing flexible work arrangements::

  • Make flexibility available to all employees. Remember, flexibility is not limited to location. It also embraces flexible shifts, time-off, and workload.
  • Update your policies and procedures for flexible work arrangements, emphasizing expectations and communication.
  • Measure the quality of your employees’ work, not the quantity.
  • Empower your teams to create and manage their flexibility, as flexible options vary depending on location or job type.
  • Embrace flexibility as part of your culture.

Reason for Attrition #2: A Negative Work Environment Is Commonplace

A negative or toxic work environment is a common reason for attrition. In 2019, SHRM reported that 20 percent of U.S. workers left their job because of “bad company culture.” Even more, SHRM said that 26 percent dreaded going to work.  Attrition caused by a poor work environment cost employers $223 billion from 2014-2019.

Maintaining a healthy and supportive workplace culture is key to retaining your employees. However, a positive workplace culture goes beyond reducing attrition. It also encourages employee engagement, collaboration, productivity, efficiency, inspiration, and accomplishment.

The Solution

Although fixing a negative work culture may seem like a daunting task, it’s critical to focus on your company’s values, management, and employee impressions—and to keep this focus regularly.

Here are some additional suggestions for improving your work environment:

  • Create or revise your company’s core values.  What are the beliefs serving as your business’s foundation? Then, be sure to communicate those core values frequently, both from a top-down and bottom-up standpoint.
  • Hold management accountable. A positive work environment starts at the top—as does a negative one.
  • Hire the right people.  Easier said than done, right? However, today, people leaders have hiring tools, such as pre-hire assessments, helping you hire candidates with the right skills, personality, and goals for your team.
  • Finally, just like any workplace strategy, be sure to monitor, reinforce, and measure as you go.  Fixing a business’s culture is not one-and-done.  It’s a living thing—deserving of your constant attention.

Reason for Attrition #3: Employees Experience Limited Growth Opportunities

We live and work in a world where reskilling and upskilling are not just topics to discuss. They are strategies to implement, as these measures are vital to retaining a high-quality workforce.

According to a recent LinkedIn study, 94% of employees say they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their learning and development. That is some stat—and not one to be ignored in this competitive hiring environment.

The Solution

Let’s look at some solutions to help your employees to develop professionally while advancing their careers:

  • Analyze your business’s needs. Think about what skills are needed now and in the next few years. Do you need to hire employees with specific hard skills, such as computer programming?  Or do you need to boost soft skills, such as communication, collaboration, and empathy? By using pre-assessment and onboarding tools, you can identify the right candidates for your team while setting employees up for success.
  • You can continue your employees’ learning and development after onboarding through systemized workforce development, creating learning paths specific to each worker.
  • Additionally, develop a mentoring program, especially for new employees and those transitioning to management. Learning from others through shadowing, one-on-one meetings, or team projects gives your employees a first-row seat to valuable learning experiences.

Many reasons for attrition exist. However, if you focus on the prevention, you’ll not only see improvement in your turnover numbers, but you’ll also see happier, more engaged employees.

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This post was originally published on the Cangrade blog.

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